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There’s Huge Value In Having The Right Motivation

One of the daily tasks that I rarely struggle with, is making breakfast in the morning. Coffee for myself and my wife, maybe some toast or cereal. Easy. I take it that most of us are ok at finding the motivation to get food or drink when we need it. There’s something hardwired in our human nature that gets us going to seek out those things (unless of course you’re a real sluggard, according to Proverbs 26:15, ‘A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth’ - but I digress).

When it comes to bigger projects though, or even other daily tasks that need doing, motivation can be harder to come by. How do we find motivation to do the things we need to do today?

Something That Kills Motivation

One of things that can kill motivation is not knowing where to start. Currently I need to gerni our driveway. I’ve never done it before (but I’ve been loaned the gerni). I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know exactly how to do it. I DO know it will be worthwhile. And I know it isn’t all that complicated. But I’m still struggling to get started. I wonder if you can think of something you need to make a start on, but you’re struggling to get the motivation to begin. How do we get the motivation to start something new? How we get motivated to tackle something that might take some time and involve some difficulty?

Something That’s Not A Great Motivation

A number of years ago I was on a course with a group of other people and through discussion groups, it become clear that one of the participants was motivated by a desire for redemption. He’d made some bad choices in life, and the good he was doing was an attempt at redeeming himself. I’d suggest that seeking redemption is not a great motivation. If I act with a desire to redeem myself, then the good I do to you is not a free gift, but is actually serving myself, in a round about way. What I do for you, is actually about me. Yet, as we make mistakes, we rightly desire redemption. We desire to be free from the mess that we’ve gotten ourselves, and potentially others, into. So how do we get redemption without seeking it? How do we act with pure motive?

Motivated By Faith For Favour

In the book of Ruth we meet a young lady who has faith for favour. That’s what motivates her to act, the belief that there will be one who looks on her with favour, with grace, with generosity:

'Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi [her mother-in-law], “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.' (Ruth 2:2a)

Though Ruth as a Moabite would have been viewed as an enemy to most of God’s people, amongst whom she was living, she believes that there may be someone in whose eyes she finds favour. That belief is rewarded, because it fits with the way the world is. There is a God whose disposition towards us is one of grace and favour. ‘For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him’ (2 Chronicles 16:9).

In Ruth’s case, by God’s providence, she finds herself on the fields of not just a God-fearing man, but a man who is actually related to her Mother-in-Law Naomi. Boaz provides protection for her and blesses her, even beyond the bare requirements of God’s Law. Ruth is so blown away, she asks why Boaz would treat her like this:

“Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me —a foreigner? ” (Ruth 2:10b)

The answer to the question has to do with the fact that Ruth has ‘come to take refuge’ under the wings of the LORD, Yahweh, the God of Israel (Ruth 2:12). As she has acted in faith towards this God, the God who truely brings favour, grace and blessing, it has led to blessing for her. Even her, an vulnerable woman, living in the midst of her enemies.

We need to learn to approach the world with an expectation of favour, because there is a God who will show favour. In fact, he has shown His favour.

Motivated By Faith For Favour From Jesus Christ

The New Testament is very clear that God has act, not expecting us to redeem ourselves, but redeeming us through Jesus Christ:

‘For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ (Colossians 1:13-14)

As God came into this world in the person of Jesus Christ, it was so that he might wash us by his blood from all our sins and failures, and so he rescues us - redeems us - from Satan and the opinions of the world and from our own waywardness, so that we are now free to serve God. And to put our faith fully in him.

Motivated By Faith For Favour To Go and Glean

In the Old Testament the provision for gleaning is quite a fascinating piece of social architecture. Land was (and still is!) the chief factor of production in the economic system. As the land owner worked the land, bringing it to the order that God intended from the creation, he was the first to share in the harvest from it (cf. 2 Timothy 2:6). Yet he was not to restrict access to the land and was to manage the land in a way that allowed access to the overflow of the land, for the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner (Deuteronomy 24:19-21). This has fascinating implications for how we manage land, businesses, wealth and even technology. If we have faith for favour from the hand of God, then we will be freed to be generous, particularly to those who have no way of repaying that generosity.

But for Ruth, what this provision in God’s law meant was not a free hand out, but instead the ability for her to go and work if she so choose to, and so to provide for her family and to begin to build a life from nothing. As she had faith for favour, that’s exactly what she found freedom to do. Without spoiling the story, it’s interesting to note that this ‘go get them’ attitude, flowing from faith in the favour of God, led to one her descendants, in just 3 generations, sitting on the throne of Israel and leading Israel to be the world super-power. Wow!

So even if you feel like the whole world is against you, whether by your own fault or the fault of others, with the right motivation - there is no stopping you. Go, gather the resources at your disposal, and step forward with faith to bring blessing to those that God has put in your life. You might be surprised at what God works around you.


About the Author

Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.

You might like to think a little bit more about your spiritual health, by taking the Spiritual Health Check Score Card here.

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